Happy birthday, baby! On November 3, 2009, you will be one year old!
This has been both a wonderful and incredibly sad month for our family. Lady passed away on October 18, which was eight days after she turned 16 years old and eight days before I turned 31. You, on the other hand, are no longer considered allergic to any food, although we are to wait to introduce nuts to you. These are both major life events for our family and have altered our lives in very different ways.
The day that we had Lady put to sleep, you spent the day with your grandmother and aunt. The vet who put Lady to sleep warned us that you were certainly old enough to have your own grief, and when you got home, we realized this was true. You walked through the door and immediately began looking for Lady. We explained, very simply, that Lady had died. We read you a book called “The 10th good thing about Barney” which is about a little boy whose cat has died. For about a week, it was very clear that you were struggling with loss. When we encountered a kitty in a story, you took the book out of my hands and threw it angrily across the room. You looked for her. You got upset when we tried to talk about kitty. But we kept reassuring you that we missed Lady, too, and that it was okay to be sad. You have since encountered a few cats, and you’ve been interested in them, but your sense of loss seems to have faded, which is good as I don’t think we’re going to be ready to add a furry member to the family any time soon.
In my last letter to you, I told you about your clearance for soy. We were thrilled when soy had gone well and you were cleared for dairy. In one week you gained 3 ounces and as of 3 days ago you were one ounce away from 16 pounds! That kind of weight gain delighted everyone, and you were given your gastroenterologist’s blessing to transition to whole milk. We were going to do it slowly, as when we had to transition you off of breastmilk, it was a real struggle, but you have moved onto whole milk with a vengeance. You absolutely love it. Now I’m hoping to wean you off the bottle and onto a sippy cup in the next few months.
The last few days have shown us what other parents take for granted. We have been able to take you to a restaurant and just order you food. We don’t have to have protracted conversations with managers, read ingredient lists, ask about cross contamination and often just get stuck with feeded you steamed veggies because it’s all that they could promise was safe. We just looked over the menu and ordered something for you. It’s been SO liberating.
More importantly, you were able to have real cake on your birthday, which when we were told about the food allergies was the thing I was most concerned about when I thought about things you might be deprived of. When I thought of being a kid, birthday cake is such a huge deal that I couldn’t imagine growing up without having one (and yes of course there are vegan options, but I did try making one and I wasn’t impressed). It was a hit, as the cupcake crumb smeared face I immortalized with my digital camera today showed.
This month we did not travel, which feels like an accomplishment in and of itself. We did, however do a lot of cool things. We visited the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, The Boston Children’s Museum, and The Acton Discovery Museum. We have continued to enjoy our Sprouts class at Isis, and will hopefully soon be starting a similar class through Early Intervention called Jump Jiggle and Jive.
We celebrated Daddy’s 33rd birthday with a special dinner out with your Dadi and Dada. You got to wear your special red velvet dress, and you enjoyed walking on the shiny floor of the restaurant, and afterward going back to your grandparent’s house and changing into pj’s and carrying my shoes around (although I’m not sure I understand why that was fun). Twelve days later we celebrated Mommy’s 31rst birthday with Indian food and you got to try cake frosting!
Your first Halloween was fun! In the weeks before Halloween we attended a few events in a ladybug costume, but we kept a special costume just for Halloween. Your Auntie Stephanie came up from New York City, and the three of us were going to go to Salem for Halloween during the day. Unfortunately it was a rough day for you (not sure if was teething, not enough sleep, or some combo of the two) and we didn’t make it. But after a long nap, you were ready to trick or treat. We started at your Dadi and Dada’s house! I bet they weren’t that surprised to see a turtle ringing their doorbell. We went to two of their neighbors and then a few of our friends houses before finishing the night with a quick stop at Target and dinner at Not Your Average Joe’s. You were absolutely adorable! It was like coming full circle, as we nicknamed you turtle when you were just a few days old. I can’t wait until next year when you’re old enough to actually say trick or treat. You did get to try your first piece of candy, which, for posterity’s sake, I can report was a kitkat. You give it a thumbs up.
On November 1rst (a Sunday) we celebrated your first birthday. In attendance were
–Mommy & Daddy
-Dada & Dadi
-Grandma & Auntie D
-Auntie Aimee, Uncle Josh and their son C
-Zach, Deb and their son Z
-Uncle Mieszko & Auntie Lynn
So many people love you!
You loved your balloons, thought the tissue paper was almost as tasty as the cupcakes, and could listen to us sing happy birthday all day. Your grandma made a cake in the shape of a ducky just for you! There were tons of balloons, a fun to be one beach ball, and a bear that everyone who came to the party autographed for you. We took lots of pictures and video.
I made you a special video, which I’ll post here on your actual birthday. I spent hours and hours on it, and I hope that someday you will think it is a nice momento of your first year here on Earth.
Thank you for one of the most challenging, wonderful and memorable years Elanor. It’s hard to think that we went from this 6 lb 11 oz 19.25 inch teeny baby who couldn’t even hold up her own head to a 16 lb 28 inch tall walking talking (sort of talking) whirlwind in 12 short months. Some day you may ask me what it was like to have a baby. I feel like I should answer that question, as you are not a baby…you are a toddler now. It is exasperating, tiring, and overwhelming. You will never be as tired as you are in those early months. It can feel like a tidal wave of need. BUT…it is a connection unlike anything I’ve ever known. You look at me with total trust. There are times when you just walk (well, run) over to me and throw your arms around me and press your open mouth against me in your version of a kiss. When I pick you up in the morning, the very first thing you always do is snuggle your little face against my shoulder and give me kisses. When you do something exciting and new, you look back to make sure I’m watching you…so that I can share in your exciting triumphs and cheer you on.
Being your mom has changed me profoundly in this past year. I’m much less worried about myself. I worry about you first and foremost. I take time for me and for your daddy too, but you are always in the back of my mind and the front of my heart. In general I am a less selfish person (although I’m not perfect, and a little selfishness is a good thing). I think I’m more easy going because no matter how many plans you make, a baby who needs a nap trumps them all, and I’ve had to keep relearning that lesson. In many ways, as you grow up, I am continuing to grow up as well.
Happy birthday baby girl…toddle off into the sunset, but keep looking back to make sure I’m there, okay? I promise that I will be.